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Report: Papelbon trade hits snag

Trade talks between the Phillies and Brewers regarding closer Jonathan Papelbon have “dissipated,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Saturday.
“It doesn’t appear there’s any momentum to it right now,” Melvin told the newspaper. “It could be revived later, I guess, but right now there’s nothing happening.
“Whatever traction there was seems to have dissipated.”
The biggest hang-ups, according to the report, are Papelbon’s contract and his no-trade clause. The right-handed closer can block deals to 17 teams, one of which includes Milwaukee. He is also due a $13-million option for 2016 should he finish 48 games. Papelbon has finished at least 48 games in every year but his rookie season.
The potential for a deal is not yet off the table, a source told, but those issues complicate it.
Papelbon, 34, has 325 saves in 10 seasons with the Red Sox and Phillies.
– Cash Kruth

D-backs out on Shields

The D-backs are no longer talking to free-agent right-hander James Shields, general manager Dave Stewart said Thursday.

“We are not,” Stewart said when asked if Arizona was still in on Shields,’s Steve Gilbert tweeted.

Stewart also told reporters the market for Shields has changed since Max Scherzer signed with the Nationals.

Although Stewart had expressed interest in Shields in the past, Arizona will continue to search for other options to slot in the rotation behind right-handers Jeremy Hellickson and Josh Collmenter. Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Trevor Cahill, Vidal Nuno and Chase Anderson are among the candidates to fill the D-backs’ rotation.

— Cash Kruth

Report: Nats among teams interested in Scherzer; deal expected soon

The Nationals are among a couple of teams talking to top free-agent starter Max Scherzer about a seven-year deal, according to CBS Sports.

Scherzer, 30, is said to be seeking more than $200 million. He turned down a six-year, $144-million offer from the Tigers last Spring Training.

CBS Sports notes a deal between the right-hander and a club is expected within the coming days.

The 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner is 39-5 over the past two years. He was 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 33 starts for Detroit in 2014.

Scherzer is 91-50 with a 3.58 ERA in seven seasons with the D-backs and Tigers. He’s thrown more than 200 innings the past two seasons and has made at least 30 starts in each of the past six.

– Cash Kruth

Report: Gallardo heading to Rangers

The Rangers are on the verge of acquiring right-hander Yovani Gallardo from the Brewers, according to Fox Sports.

There is no word yet on what Milwaukee would get in return.

Gallardo, who turns 29 in February, is eligible for free agency following the season. He prepped at Fort Worth’s Trimble Technical before the Brewers selected him in the second round of the 2004 Draft.

Gallardo is a one-time All-Star (2010) who went 8-11 with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts for the Brewers last season. He has made at least 30 starts in each of the last six seasons and is 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA in parts of eight Major League seasons, all with Milwaukee.

– Cash Kruth

Report: Giants, Blanco agree to 2-year deal

The Giants and outfielder Gregor Blanco have agreed to a two-year, $7.5-million contract to avoid arbitration, his agent Jose Mijares tells Venezuela’s Lider en Deportes.

The 31-year-old Blanco has appeared in at least 140 games in each of the last three seasons for the Giants. He hit .260/.333/.374 with 16 stolen bases last season, playing left field and moving to center in place of the injured Angel Pagan.

Blanco will shift to a backup role with this week’s reported signing of Nori Aoki, but provides valuable experience at all three outfield positions and speed off the bench.

He is a .257/.344/.344 career hitter in parts of six Major League seasons with the Braves, Royals and Giants.

– Cash Kruth

Rays ink Francisco to Minor League deal

The Rays have signed infielder Juan Francisco to a Minor League contract, according to multiple reports.

The 27-year-old Francisco spent last season with the Blue Jays, hitting .220/.291/.456 with 16 home runs in 106 games between first and third base.

Francisco is a .236 career hitter with 48 homers in six seasons with the Reds, Braves, Brewers and Blue Jays.

– Cash Kruth

Blue Jays, others interested in Axford

Canadian reliever John Axford could be coming home.

The Blue Jays are among four teams interested in the right-handed reliever, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The 31-year-old Ontario native burst onto the scene with the Brewers in 2010, assuming the closer role that season and the next before being losing it during a rocky 2012. He saved 46 games and posted a 1.96 ERA in 2011 to earn down-ballot Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Award votes.

He combined to go 2-4 with a 3.95 ERA and 10 saves in 62 appearances in 2014 for the Indians and Pirates.

- Cash Kruth

Padres, Phillies talking Hamels?

San Diego might not be done with big acquisitions.

The Padres and Phillies have discussed a potential trade for left-hander Cole Hamels, reported Sunday evening. Outfielder Wil Myers — who came to San Diego as part of Friday’s four-team blockbuster — would be the headliner heading back to Philadelphia, according to the report.

San Diego has a plethora of outfielders following its offseason moves, beginning with Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Myers. Incumbents Seth Smith, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable and Carlos Quentin are the players many outsiders figure to be dealt, although dealing one of the newly-acquired players could make sense. The Padres’ outfield is currently comprised of all right-handed hitters and no true center fielder.

The Boston Globe reported last week the Padres, Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers and Rangers were interested the 30-year-old Hamels. Hamels has four years and $96 million remaining on his contract, plus a vesting option for 2019 that would bring the total dollars to $110 million.

– Cash Kruth

Report: Korean shortstop Kang to be posted Monday

Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang will be posted Monday, according to

Kang, 27, is a power-hitting shortstop who has spent the last seven seasons playing for the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization. He’s coming off a career year in which he hit .354 with 39 home runs, 115 RBIs and a 1.189 OPS in 116 games.

While those numbers are eye-popping, Korea professional baseball is an extremely offensive environment; teams averaged 5.7 runs per game last season, compared to Major League Baseball’s 4.1 mark.

Kang is a career .298/.382/.502 hitter with four seasons of 20-plus homers. He also stole a career-high 21 bases in 2012, but that number dipped to three last season.

Although the shortstop market is thin, many clubs view Kang as a second baseman. CBS Sports reported earlier this week that the Mets, Giants and A’s are interested in the infielder.

The Mets and A’s both need middle-infield help, while the CBS Sports report speculates the Giants could move Joe Panik to third (replacing Pablo Sandoval) and put Kang at second.

– Cash Kruth

Mets, Rangers talking about Gee

The Mets have been looking to deal an arm, and it appears the Rangers have inquired about right-hander Dillon Gee.

Jon Paul Morosi reports the clubs have had discussions about Gee, who was 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA in 22 starts for the Mets last season. The 28-year-old posted a 3.62 ERA in 199 innings 2013.

Gee made $3.625 million in 2014, per Cots Baseball Contracts, and is again arbitration eligible. He’s under club control through 2016.

Gee is from Cleburne, Texas, and went to the University of Texas at Arlington.

– Cash Kruth


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